English 203

Graduate Readings: Poetic Meter

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2015 Hanson, Kristin
W 2-5 214 Haviland

Book List

See below.


This course will provide a basic introduction to the major meters of the modern English poetic tradition from the perspective of a theory of poetic meter rooted in generative linguistics.  Taking the "strict" iambic pentameter of Shakespeare's Sonnets, the "loose" iambic pentameter of Shakespeare's plays, and the "Sprung Rhythm" of Hopkins' lyrics as representatives of three distinct but overlapping meters, we will explore the structural properties of stress, syllable count and caesura placement in these forms, the ranges of variation they allow, their different manifestations in closely related forms and in the practice of other poets, their aesthetic effects in particular poems, their formal relationships to their Romance, Old English and Classical Latin and Greek influences, and their relationships to the rhythmic structure of language itself. 

The principal text for the course will be a draft of a book intended as an introduction to the subject; we will use it and the poetry on which its claims are based to establish a common foundation.  The principal task for each student will be to explore the metrical practice of a poet or poets of his or her own choosing.

No prior background in either metrics or linguistics is required. 

This course satisfies the Group 6 (non-historical) requirement.


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